User adoption: why is it so important?

Yousra Mahros, May 2021

Even the most technically advanced software is useless if no one uses it. User adoption is therefore of paramount importance in the deployment of new system applications. Time savings and cost savings are obvious benefits. But supporting user adoption goes far beyond that, and is part of a positive long-term evolution of the corporate culture. To achieve this, it is necessary to place the user at the center of any technological innovation. Here are some best practices to ensure your user adoption!

User adoption: what is it really about?

user adoption d'une application

The use of the application must become a fully integrated automatism for all users. They must not only accept the innovation, but also modify their behavior to adapt to it. However, humans are made of habit. For the brain, adapting to a new situation is particularly costly. Moreover, it can be emotionally disturbing.

The challenge of user adoption is therefore to implement an effective change management strategy. The transition must be as smooth as possible, so that the new work processes are integrated without resistance.

Business applications are usually extremely comprehensive, offering a large number of functions that will never be used by most users. By improving user adoption, it is possible to reduce the extent of this phenomenon. Finally, more than its technology, it is the rate of use by the teams that will make the power of a business application. Optimal user adoption is therefore a major advantage for the digital transformation of your company.

Why is user adoption so important?

Echanger pour une adoption des user

User adoption allows the business application to be used more and better. This saves time and costs during implementation, but the benefits go far beyond that. Indeed, an application that is well integrated into the daily life of the users will prove to be much more efficient in the long run. The atmosphere within the teams will be better, and the motivation of everyone will be reinforced.

Faster and cheaper deployment through user engagement

If you have decided to deploy a new business application, it is because you expect a return on investment. Of course, you want it to be done as quickly as possible. But if the application is not well accepted by its users, it will take a very long time before its full potential is exploited. In the worst case scenario, it will never happen, and you will have wasted a lot of time for a solution that was eventually abandoned. By fostering effective user adoption, you save valuable time in implementing your new application. In addition, your IT department will be able to turn to other projects more quickly, since it will not be continuously solicited by lost users.

Engager ses collaborateurs

Time is also money! A quick implementation of the new technical solution will reduce the associated costs as much as possible. The various departments involved will spend less time working on the deployment, so they can concentrate on other workloads. Modifying or even replacing a business application after an unsatisfactory implementation is particularly costly. By promoting good user adoption, you won’t have to deal with this type of situation!

Improving productivity through the appropriation of the digital workplace

Even when an application is deployed without major difficulties, this technical solution is generally underused by users. However, if you have chosen to implement new technical solutions and to develop the digital workplace, it is to bring a real gain in efficiency and quality! This requires a good rate of use of the various tools made available.

Travail à domicile et digital workplace

Optimal user adoption helps to achieve this higher usage rate. This is because users have a more positive attitude towards the technical solution, and are more willing to test the features. They are willing to spend more time and energy learning how to make the most of these possibilities. They stop being suspicious of the new and seeing it as something that disrupts their daily lives. Instead, they become curious to see how it can improve their work comfort and efficiency.

A better corporate atmosphere thanks to the commitment to change

Adhérer au changement via des best practices user adoption

When a new business application is poorly accepted by users, the damage can go far beyond a one-time loss of efficiency. This failure can considerably degrade the work atmosphere within the teams. Indeed, if users feel that a technical solution is being imposed on them that does not suit them, this can create a climate of mistrust and discontent.

On the other hand, employees who have been fully integrated in the deployment of the new software will feel valued. Recognition is a powerful driver for people. Having been part of a successful project is an important motivating factor. Employees will therefore want to continue the process improvement process. Moreover, participating in the success of a common project is a factor of team cohesion.

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User adoption best practices: some tips

Best practices pour l'user adoption

You are aware of the importance of optimal user adoption for your business applications and the implementation of an efficient digital workplace. But how do you encourage user adoption? Here are some best practices regarding user adoption:

Put the user at the heart of the project: the user-centric approach

To ensure maximum user acceptance, the entire project must be user-centric. The application you deploy must meet their needs as much as possible. To do this, it is essential to involve them in all phases of the project. A preliminary consultation will allow you to identify the needs and choose the most adapted application. Gathering regular feedback will allow you to quickly implement the necessary adjustments during the deployment phase.

In addition, users who have been involved in the project from the beginning will be more likely to use the tools they have helped develop. Knowing that one’s opinion has been taken into account is a powerful factor of support!

Create a change management culture

Changement grâce à la user adoption

Resistance to change is a natural defense system in all human beings. Adapting to changes in one’s environment is costly in energy and involves risks. It is therefore essential to cultivate a true change management culture within the company, so that innovation is no longer perceived as a danger, but as an opportunity. This will create a much more favorable climate for the effective adoption of new technologies by users.

Rely on well-chosen managers and key users

Key user satisfait de user adoption

For optimal user adoption, the drive can come from the management level, but it can also be more transverse and go through key users within the teams. Make managers aware of and train them in change management, and insist on their ability to listen. They must be able to drive the change, but also to take into account the feelings of the employees.

Choose key users who are already open to technological innovation and familiar with the digital workplace concept. Young employees who have grown up with new technologies are often very good ambassadors of change for their colleagues. They can also serve as technical relays within the teams, and relieve IT of some of the support workload.

Make communication and training a priority

Communication efficace via la user adoption

Change management is about communication! Be transparent about the objectives from the beginning of the project. Don’t leave any grey areas that could lead to confusion. Be positive by highlighting all the advantages of the new solution, but also be realistic and honest by mentioning the possible difficulties.

Throughout the project, actively collect feedback from all stakeholders: managers, key users and end users. Use a collaborative approach to benefit from the collective intelligence phenomenon.

Finally, put a special focus on the initial and ongoing training of users. This will enable them to learn the business applications more easily and quickly. Efficiency will obviously be improved, and this will contribute to an overall satisfaction conducive to the complete adoption of the tools.

Ensure quality support and complete documentation

Support aux utilisateurs (user adoption best practices)

The feeling of being alone with a software that you do not master is a major source of demotivation. From the beginning of the deployment, set up a quality, responsive and available technical support. Users who have quickly obtained a solution to their problems will naturally have a much more positive image of the business application.

Also provide complete, user-friendly documentation that encourages autonomy by allowing everyone to find best practices and answers to their questions in order to encourage maximum adoption. Detailed user guides with screenshots and step-by-step procedures will be a very useful tool. Employees who are less comfortable with IT tools can refer to them as often as necessary until the procedures are fully integrated and become.